Commentary Archive

That’s A Wrap: Defense

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Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today, the final installment: Indiana’s defense.

Final stats (32 games): 67.6 ppg, 41.2 FG %, 46.2 eFG %, 29.9 3P FG%, 35.6% FTR.

Indiana’s season was epitomized by its ups and downs. From the optimism of a 63-52 win against Michigan to the shock of an 11-point collapse to Penn State in the final minutes in Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers’ defense was prone to exactly that throughout the 2013-2014 season.

After losing almost all of their regular contributors over the offseason prior, the Hoosiers found a new identity that emphasized switching defenses and catching the opponents off-guard. It resulted in varying degrees of success throughout the season.

The Hoosiers held opponents to just a 29.9 clip beyond the arc this season — the best rate Indiana coach Tom Crean has ever had as a head coach. Despite the Hoosiers being undersized at times, opponents rebounded only 28 percent of their misses — also the best rate Crean has had as a head coach.

The highlights were plentiful on the defensive side this season: the main one being the Hoosiers shutting Michigan down in Assembly Hall on Feb. 2, and Wolverines coach John Beilein saying after the game “we hadn’t seen anything like” what the Hoosiers implemented, defensively. Another was the Hoosiers’ 72-64 win over Ohio State exactly a month later, when the defense held the Buckeyes to an 0-for-11 clip from beyond the arc.

But again, this was an up-and-down season.

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That’s A Wrap: Offense

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Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Indiana’s offense.

Final stats (32 games): 72.3 ppg, 44.8 FG %, 49.8 eFG %, 34.3 3P FG%, 73.0 FT %, 45.3 % FTR.

After spending back-to-back season as one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country, Indiana’s offense took a couple steps back in 2013-2014.

It was easy to see why. Gone were Cody Zeller’s and Victor Oladipo’s high-percentage looks. Gone too was the precision of Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls from distance. All four were also crucial members of Indiana’s transition attack, and all four moved on. And instead of three upperclassmen in the starting lineup, this season’s offense featured three freshman.

While Yogi Ferrell took steps forward and Noah Vonleh was overpowering at times, it simply wasn’t enough to make up for the departed. After finishing third nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency in 2012-2013 and fourth in 2011-2012, Indiana fell to 127th this past season.

The turnovers were a big part of it. As has long been discussed, the Hoosiers’ sloppy play and poor decision making had them forfeiting 21.8 percent of their possessions for the season (310th nationally) and 21.9 percent in conference play (12th). But Indiana also squandered points by getting their shots blocked at a high rate as well (12.4 percent: 331st nationally, 13.2 percent: 12th in conference).

Six seasons in, these two areas have been consistent low spots for Indiana’s offense under Tom Crean in conference play:

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That’s A Wrap: Evan Gordon

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Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Evan Gordon.

Gordon (32 games): 5.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 40 FG%, 81.0 FT% in 20.4 minutes per game.

When Evan Gordon announced that he was coming home to play his final season at Indiana last spring, he noted several reasons for his decision to leave Arizona State. Proximity to family and the masters of sports administration program in Bloomington were among the reasons he listed, but ultimately, the chance to fill a lifelong dream seemed to be the biggest of all.

“Being from Indiana, going to IU is probably the second greatest accomplishment besides playing in the NBA,” Gordon told Inside the Hall on May 15.

As the younger brother of a former IU player, Eric, Gordon had a chance to watch the program up close during the 2007-2008 season, a year in which the Hoosiers were nationally ranked and near the top of the Big Ten standings.

“At the end of the day, they are one of the biggest and best programs in the country,” Gordon explained. “It doesn’t get much of a bigger stage than IU.”

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That’s A Wrap: Jeff Howard

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Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Jeff Howard.

Howard (23 games):  0.9 points, 0.9 rebounds, 45.5 FG%, 66.7 FT% in 5.6 minutes per game.

Little was expected of senior walk-on Jeff Howard entering his final season in Bloomington.

Through his first three seasons as a Hoosier, the Westfield product had accumulated a total of seven points in 77 minutes. As a walk-on in major college basketball, those type of numbers typically come with the territory.

But as the 2013-2014 season moved along, Howard carved out a role as a guy who the coaching staff trusted in key situations. Maybe it was his experience or maybe it was a lack of complete comfort with the other frontcourt options, but Howard actually registered double figure minutes in three straight conference games, something that would have been unthinkable when the season started.

In IU’s first of two Big Ten road wins on Jan. 11 in State College, Howard played just six minutes, but totaled four points and three rebounds and was on the floor for defense down the stretch. In total, he would appear in 15 of IU’s 18 regular season Big Ten games, scoring in five of them.

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That’s A Wrap: Will Sheehey

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Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Will Sheehey.

Sheehey (31 games):  11.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 blocks, 53.0% eFG, 69.0% FT in 30.3 minutes per game.

This was a transition season for Will Sheehey. After three seasons of being Indiana’s sixth man, the Hoosiers’ spark of energy off the bench, the 2013-2014 season was meant to be Sheehey’s year as Indiana’s senior leader. The one who would help carry the young Hoosiers to on-court success, through scoring and through leadership.

Co-captaining the Hoosiers with sophomore Yogi Ferrell, that is exactly what Sheehey did, starting 31 of Indiana’s 32 games (missing just the Michigan State road game with an ankle injury). He left as one of the fan favorites on a team that struggled with inconsistencies all season. But Sheehey’s road to the end wasn’t as smooth as he might have liked it to be.

Before the season even began, Sheehey injured an ankle at adidas Nations while colliding with Kansas freshman Joel Embiid during a counselor game. In October, he was dealing with a groin injury, according to Indiana coach Tom Crean.

And in the opening months of the 2013-2014 season, Sheehey dealt with offensive inconsistencies. In the first 20 games of the season, Sheehey scored fewer than six points on seven separate occasions. He shot better than 50 percent or better from the field in only 11 of IU’s first 20 games.

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That’s A Wrap: Peter Jurkin

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Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Peter Jurkin.

Jurkin (3 games):  0.2 points, 0.5 rebounds, 0.2 blocks, 0.0% eFG, 40.0% FT in 1.4 minutes per game.

Tom Crean received a verbal commitment from Peter Jurkin in August of 2010 and the Sudan native became the first recruit of the 2012 class. Jurkin’s pledge came at a time when the program was searching for bodies. The likes of McDonald’s All-Americans like Cody Zeller, Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. had yet to surface and usher in a more competitive era of basketball under Crean.

At the time, we noted that Jurkin showed promise as a rim protector, ran the floor well and needed to add some muscle to his frame. As we’ve come to find, a floor-running big can fit well in Crean’s offense. But Jurkin remains just a deep reserve for the Hoosiers with his second season in Bloomington now in the books. The numbers are small: Only three appearances (including just one minute of play in the Big Ten during the blowout at Purdue) two total points, zero made field goals.

Jurkin missed much of his junior high school season and all of the following AAU season with a stress fracture in his right leg. Injuries have continued to hinder his progress at IU. A suspension and a foot malady slowed him during his freshman year, one in which he also saw extremely limited minutes (just seven).

This year, it appeared as if Jurkin continued to work through pain, as he was often spotted in an aircast. Basketball movements — cuts, jumps, slides and screens on hardwood — often do little favors to players who don’t have the ideal body to handle it — especially 7-footers. Jurkin’s pencil thin legs — like Maurice Creek’s before him — have left him in a frustrating spot.

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That’s A Wrap: Yogi Ferrell

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Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Yogi Ferrell.

Ferrell (32 games): 17.3 points, 3.9 assists, 3 rebounds, 52.1% eFG, 82.4% FT in 33.8 minutes per game.

Few players in all of college basketball had more asked of them than Yogi Ferrell, who saw his role shift from a facilitator as a freshman to a lead scorer who was also tasked with running the team as a sophomore.

And as the numbers show, Ferrell handled the major shift in his role brilliantly.

In the preseason, one of the major story lines surrounding IU was Ferrell’s perimeter shot, which was a weakness during his first season. It didn’t take long to see the fruits of his offseason work as it took just nine games for Ferrell to make 23 shots from distance, matching his total of 3-pointers made as a freshman.

Despite taking difficult and contested 3-pointers all season as the focus of the opposition’s scouting report, Ferrell managed to shoot 40 percent from behind the arc as a sophomore (on 220 attempts). That was a major factor in his improved effective field goal percentage of 52.1, up from 45.4 percent as a freshman. His percentage from 3-point range was up nearly 10 percent from his debut season.

The Park Tudor product finished third in conference games in scoring at 17.8 points per game, just behind Nebraska’s Terran Petteway and Iowa’s Devyn Marble.

Ferrell also improved as a ball handler and decision maker as a sophomore as his turnover percentage dropped by six percentage points despite having the ball in his hands even more. His turnover rate was still far too high (18 percent), but it was easily the lowest of IU’s rotation regulars. He finished seventh in assists in Big Ten play with 3.8 per game.

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